RADIO FREE EUROPE
July 08, 2009
Very few people in Turkey are exercised by the YouTube blackout, now in its second year. Despite the ban, the video-sharing site is believed to be the ninth most popular site in Turkey. Almost every Internet user — from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the humblest teenage porn connoisseur — knows how to circumvent it with proxy browsers. “I get in,” Erdogan told reporters in November, 2008. “You can do so as well.”
Continue reading Turkey’s YouTube Ban Is Cause For Concern
In Turkey, alleged terrorism requires a brand-new vocabulary.
3 January 2012
George Orwell’s greatest act of genius was the invention of Newspeak, the official language of Oceania, devised to meet the ideological needs of “Ingsoc,” or English Socialism. Explaining the nature of a mass trial in Turkey likewise requires the construction of a language all its own.
Continue reading Subtergenekon and Other Crimes
April 23, 2012
I came back late at night from the Distinguished Physician’s special dinner party for minorities, Leftists, and persecuted journalists. His villa in Istanbul overlooks the once-picturesque cove of Tarabya on the European shore of the Bosphorus. It is still picturesque, if you look only to your right. Harold Nicolson wrote of this view:
“To the south, fringing the soft lip of the Marmora, another ruin; the frail façade of a palace on the shore. Three marble arches opening to the sea: the carved brackets of a fallen balcony, the waves below splashing on heavy capitals half-buried in the sand.
Continue reading Supping Full with Horrors: A social evening with Turkish outcasts
THE NATIONAL INTEREST
June 8, 2012
The arrival of the World Economic Forum in Istanbul this week was overshadowed in the Turkish media by the arrival of Madonna and her entourage, although there was a symmetry in events—massive security, caravans of expensive cars with tinted windows, snarled traffic and cab drivers cursing them all. Tagging behind the Material Girl was her twenty-four-year-old lover, Brahim Zaibat; tagging behind Turkey’s mercurial prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. In both cases, the pair looked every inch the happy couple.
Continue reading Davos on Tour in Istanbul
June 26, 2012
TURKEY’S SUPREME COURT PUTS BLACKMAILERS IN AWKWARD POSITION
The news from Turkey, journalists here always complain, comes so hard and fast that they just can’t keep up with it. The Supreme Court obviously decided to take pity on them last week by declaring war on porn. Now, they didn’t criminalize all porn—let’s not exaggerate here—but the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that anyone in possession of videos depicting oral or anal sex may be sentenced to prison.
Continue reading Turkey’s Sex, Lies and Videotapes
Why we should worry about Turkey’s missing jet
GATESTONE INTERNATIONAL POLICY COUNCIL
August 11, 2012
It is apparently lore at the Economist that foreign correspondents have a shelf life of three years. After this, they know too much. They become too involved in the minutiae of local politics to explain a story to their domestic audience. Then, of course, there is the famous State Department “clientitis” problem—diplomats, it is said, need to be rotated out in roughly the same amount of time lest they begin to understand the host country’s point of view a bit too well.
Continue reading A Phantom Wrapped in an Enigma Wrapped in a Riddle
Controversial Muslim preacher, feared Turkish intriguer—and “inspirer” of the largest charter school network in America.
With the American economy in shambles, Europe imploding, and the Middle East in chaos, convincing Americans that they should pay attention to a Turkish preacher named Fethullah Gülen is an exceedingly hard sell. Many Americans have never heard of him, and if they have, he sounds like the least of their worries.
Continue reading Who Is Fethullah Gülen?
THE JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS
December 19, 2012
While Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan needs no introduction, the Turkish imam Fethullah Gülen is probably the most important person you’ve never heard about. He is an immensely powerful figure in Turkey, and—to put it mildly—a controversial one. He is also an increasingly powerful figure globally. Today, there are between three and six million Gülen followers. Gülen leads the cemaat, an Islamic civil society movement, that has until now been critical to the electoral success of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP). The cemaat is often described as Turkey’s Third Force—the other two being the AKP and the military.
Continue reading Anatomy Of A Power Struggle
The Washington Post, June 2005
MOVE FROM AUSTERE Paris to this anarchic city as I have done this summer, and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the idea of integrating Turkey into the European Union is and always has been ludicrous. Turkey is not Europe, and it is certainly not France.
I do not say this merely because the phones, electricity, hot water and front door lock have failed on me, serially, since my arrival, along with the Internet, refrigerator and stove.
Continue reading It’s History That’s Tearing the E.U. Apart